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Polis visits Cherry Creek school to discuss safely reopening

Colorado's governor visited Village East Elementary School in the Cherry Creek School District on Thursday.

AURORA, Colo. — Gov. Jared Polis (D-Colorado) joined education officials Thursday at a school in the Cherry Creek School District (CCSD) to go over school safety as many students returned to in-person learning this week amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The governor visited Village East Elementary School for a discussion on how the district is working with local public health authorities to safely reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Principal Mia Robinson said she’s excited to have kids back at school and that the transition back has gone “incredibly well” so far. 

“I feel like with our good guidance and our flexibility to adjust to whatever comes our way has just allowed us to be able to open up and show other schools that this is possible," Robinson  said. 

CCSD opened to in-person learning on Monday with a phased approach for the first week so that students and staff could learn the new safety measures. 

During the discussion, Polis told educators that the state would partner with schools to provide surge testing if and when an outbreak occurs. 

“We want to make sure if we need 600 tests in a 24-48 hours period that we’re able to do it in a convenient way for parents and faculty,” Polis said.

The district's reopening plan calls for 100% in-person learning for those in Pre-K through fifth grade. Students in grades six through 12 returned with a blended learning option, which includes a mix of in-person instruction and remote learning.

The blended plan includes students divided into cohorts "A" and "B," with two days of in-person learning and three days of remote learning every week.

Cherry Creek Schools Superintendent Scott Siegfried said the district has contingency plants in place if schools need to transition back to fully remote learning.

“This is going to be a long year ahead of us," Siegfried said. "We’re going to take every step we need to make sure people are first and foremost safe, that they’re educated, their mental health is addressed and their health is addressed as well." 

Some other changes the district put in place this year include a requirement to wear masks, temperatures checks, block scheduling, no lockers and no field trips, the district said. 

Siegfried said last week that 10,500 students have opted to return in a fully remote model.    

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